Moutere claimed a notable scalp on Saturday, downing reigning Marlborough premier rugby champions Waitohi 36-31 in Picton.
The upset victory by the Magpies, who scored their last premier win 337 days ago, underlined their ability to foot it with any team in the competition and keeps them in the race for semi-final positions.
Moutere led early and scored regularly but were unable to create a sizeable advantage, the home side replying each time the Magpies registered points. The visitors led 15-12 at the halftime break and had extended that to 36-26 with time almost up before Waitohi scored their fifth and final try to grab two bonus points.
Laurie McGlone, Magpies’ head coach, rued the fact his side were unable to prevent Waitohi picking up a couple of points, suggesting they will be valuable in what is shaping as a tight race.
He singled out newcomer No 8 Pecili Katonawale as one of the day’s outstanding individuals, along with inside backs Tristian Taylor and Dan Monaghan, plus fullback Clyde Paewai.
Despite their slow start to the belated season McGlone says, “we are fairly happy with where we are”.
“We have been struggling, but we are back on the board now so hopefully we can kick on and take some confidence out of [the win] as well.”
Waitohi were unable to field a full-strength side but were making no excuses.
Player/coach Jimmy Giles said the absence of some experienced operators was a great chance for the team’s youngsters to step up. He picked out first five Dylan McManaway, flankers Dylan Burns and Andre Hebberd, halfback Karlos Tautari and Mote Malimali for special praise and suggested next week’s bye has come at just the right time for his small squad.
Meanwhile, at Seddon, Central did just enough to hold off the home side 13-8, maintaining the Blues’ unbeaten record and keeping their grip on the John Goodman Challenge Trophy for another week.
Awatere coach Kaleni Taetuli described it as a “tough old game”.
Central led 10-3 at halftime, through tries to Ollie Lawson and Solomon, then Mitch Smith added a penalty after the break. The Tussocks notched a first half penalty to Franco Quinones, with Ben Filipo scoring the only try of the second spell.
Taetuli said one of the major differences was the lineout accuracy, his side struggling in that area and also unable to take full toll when within striking distance of points. His scrum worked well but lost its edge when uncontested scrums were ordered midway through the second spell.
He is impressed with the young talent at his disposal, including fullback Sam Westenra, flanker Will Chaffey and lock Will Smith suggesting his side were not downhearted by their winless start to the season, merely frustrated at not showing their potential yet.
The Moutere women’s team did not fare as well as their menfolk, going down 42-0 to a strong Wanderers side in Brightwater.
Moutere 36 (Penalty try, Mausia Papani, Jack Best, Tristian Taylor, Ben Finau, Clyde Paewai tries, Dan Monagahan 2 con) Waitohi 31 (Taimi Fangatua 3, Gannon Karena, Wade Wilson tries, Dylan McManaway 3 con). HT: 15-12.
Central 13 (Ollie Lawson, Solomon tries, Mitch Smith pen) Awatere 8 (Ben Filipo try, Franco Quinones pen). HT: 10-3.
MSU standings after four rounds: Renwick 14, Central 14, Waitohi 8, Moutere 6, Awatere 1.
It was another tough day at the office for the Marlborough Boys’ College First XV, who lost their third match in a row, this week going down 33-15 to Shirley High School in Christchurch.
As they did last week MBC began strongly, leading 10-0 at the break after tries to Nase Taufa and Te Ariki Peipi. Coach Matt MacDougall said that his side were dominating physically and had the home side rattled, as well as taking the typically-harsh local crowd out of the equation.
However it all changed after the break, MBC losing key players William MacKenzie, Peipi and Ryan McLeod in quick succession to injury. Suddenly Shirley, buoyed by their sideline support, were back in the game and began to quickly rack up points. MBC scored a superb third try to one of their standouts, youngster Cooper Roberts, but were unable to withstand the Shirley onslaught.
MacDougall put the result down to another learning experience away from home, and praised the efforts of MacKenzie, Roberts, prop Max Morris and replacement centre Tom Hobson.
Next up for MBC is another away game, this time to Timaru to play Timaru BHS.
Other University of Canterbury championship results: Roncalli 14 Lincoln 0; Christ’s College 54 Mid Canterbury 5; St Andrew’s 59 Waimea 27; St Bede’s 35 Nelson College 27; Rangiora 40 Timaru 36; Christchurch BHS 19 St Thomas 13.